A NEWPORT teaching assistant has been named among the best in the country after being selected from more than 20,000 nominations in recognition of his ‘inspirational’ teaching.

Danny Johnson, of Bettws, was awarded Teaching Assistant of the Year as part of the Silver Pearson Teaching Awards 2014.

Mr Johnson, who has worked at Millbrook Primary School for the last three years, was presented with his award by head teacher Lindsey Watkins during a school assembly.

The awards are an annual celebration of exceptional teachers and teaching, founded in 1999 by Lord Puttnam, and recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of young people.

Mr Jonhson said: “Thank you everyone..still can’t believe I won, just happy to be part of such a great school and team.”

The father of five’s celebration is one of just 55 that took place in schools and colleges across England, Ireland and Wales on ‘Thank a Teacher Day’.

Prior to teaching, Mr Johnson was in the army, but on leaving he decided to take a degree in early childhood education.

Mr Johnson will now join fellow Silver Award winners at the UK final of the Teaching Awards at London’s Guildhall on 26th October, where 10 Silver Award winners will receive a Gold Award.

Head teacher Lindsey Watkins said that she nominated him for the award back in January.

“The whole team are fantastic but Danny just stands out.

“He goes above and beyond his call of duty and is an excellent role model for the children - someone they can look up to.

“He really cares about learning and really embodies the school motto “Learning about caring; Caring about learning.

“He has a degree in early childhood education and his goal is to become a teacher in the long term.

“He just loves learning, and the school and the children are so proud of him.”